Which Online Platforms Are Best for Learning Japanese From Scratch: Top Choices and Tips

When starting to learn Japanese from scratch, the plethora of online platforms can be overwhelming. Each of these offers unique features to help you grasp the basics and advance your skills efficiently. With Japanese lessons via the internet, you can find a tutor on Italki for personalized 1-on-1 sessions, which are excellent for speaking practice and getting tailored guidance. For a more structured approach, Duolingo offers a gamified experience with short lessons, making it enjoyable to study consistently.

JapanesePod101 provides a rich collection of audio lessons, perfect for honing your listening skills and understanding everyday conversations. These platforms will set a solid foundation for your Japanese learning journey.

Comprehensive Learning Platforms

When learning Japanese from scratch, some platforms offer a full range of tools and resources. These can include structured courses, language exchanges, and specialized apps. Below are some of the best options available.

Online Courses and Tutorials

Online courses are great for a structured learning experience. Platforms such as Preply offer personalized 1-on-1 classes with tutors, making it easier to get tailored support. Another popular option is Udemy, which has many beginner-friendly courses covering all aspects of the language.

These courses often include interactive lessons and multimedia materials. For those who prefer video lessons and audio content, many websites provide an extensive library of resources that can help you understand grammar and vocabulary through engaging formats.

Language Exchange Applications

Language exchange apps are excellent for practicing your speaking skills with native speakers. There are many leading platforms where you can connect with Japanese tutors for conversation practice. This helps you improve your pronunciation and fluency.

Many language exchange applications also offer community forums where you can engage with other learners and native speakers. This social aspect keeps you motivated and helps you gain insights into the culture, which is crucial for language acquisition.

Japanese Learning Apps

Using dedicated learning apps can make studying Japanese more interactive and fun. Duolingo is a popular choice that makes the learning process fun to keep you motivated. The app offers bite-sized lessons that cover vocabulary, kanji, and grammar.

For a more comprehensive approach, FluentU uses authentic videos from native media, such as TV shows and movies, to teach the language within a cultural context. This method helps you learn natural speaking patterns and improves listening skills. Similarly, Memrise uses technology-driven methods to improve your vocabulary and conversational skills.

Specialized Japanese Learning Resources

Focusing on specialized tools for learning kanji, mastering grammar and vocabulary, and practicing reading and listening skills can greatly improve your Japanese learning journey.

Kanji Study Tools

Learning kanji is one of the most challenging aspects of studying Japanese. Websites like WaniKani help you memorize kanji characters using a spaced repetition system. WaniKani also provides mnemonics to help you remember the meanings and readings of each kanji.

Anki is another effective tool. It allows you to create custom kanji flashcards. Using Anki, you can review and test yourself on kanji, ensuring long-term retention. Additionally, Kanji Alive offers detailed kanji lessons, including stroke order animations to guide you.

Grammar and Vocabulary Websites

For grammar and vocabulary, websites like Tae Kim’s Guide to Learning Japanese are invaluable. Tae Kim’s Guide covers basic to advanced grammar points clearly and logically.

Another great platform is JGram, which is a database of grammar points contributed by the community. It includes example sentences and explanations. For vocabulary, Memrise offers courses that feature native speaker audio, making it easier to learn and remember new words.

Reading and Listening Practice Sites

Practicing reading and listening is crucial for fluency. NHK News Easy is a perfect resource for beginners. It provides news articles written in simple Japanese and includes furigana for difficult kanji. This makes it easier to understand and practice reading.

For listening practice, FluentU uses authentic videos like TV show clips and interviews. These videos include subtitles and definitions to help you understand spoken Japanese in various contexts. Another useful site is JapanesePod101, offering podcasts and audio lessons tailored to various proficiency levels.


When starting to learn Japanese, choosing the right platform can make a big difference.

It’s important to find a platform that matches your learning style and goals.

Look for ones with native-speaker interactions and real-life contexts, like videos or conversations.

Check for features like grammar explanations and kanji practice to build a solid foundation.

Experiment with free trials to see which one fits you best. 

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